Leading Mitsubishi privateer, Access Hardware Rally Team’s Spencer Lowndes, has finished sixth outright at the Quit Forest Rally, round one of the 2008 Australian Rally Championship in Western Australia.
Victorian based Lowndes last competed in the event in 2003 when he drove for the factory-backed Mitsubishi Ralliart team.
“It was great to be back in the West. It was always one of my favourite events, and it definitely lived up to my expectations.   The roads were fantastic, they were technical and you really had to be on your game to get through each stage.”
Lowndes was happy with the result and said that while a podium finish is always nice, he had not expected a result of that nature when he travelled to WA.
“The Forest Rally is one of the hardest on the ARC calendar, the roads are so unique to WA and the surface really takes a lot to get used to.  We (Lowndes and co driver Chris Randell) weren’t able to complete any testing on the Nannup roads before the rally started, so it took me a while to build up some confidence.
“We were rallying against guys who have been competing on the roads for the past four years, so we were a little behind the eight ball,” said Lowndes.  “We went over wanting to finish and get some good points to start the season, anything more than that would have been an added bonus.”
Lowndes had been sitting as high as fifth in Heat One before damage to the intercooler dropped him down the field.
Consistently setting top six stage times throughout Sunday, Lowndes finished Heat Two in fourth, the result strong enough to secure him sixth outright for the event.
“Without the intercooler issues we would have been pretty close to a podium finish, so it was a great result.”
Lowndes’ attention now turns to the APRC Rally of Canberra in May in the nation’s Capital.
“We’ve already got some changes planned for the car which should keep us very busy in the lead up to Canberra.
“We will be making some modifications, which should bring us more horsepower and we will hopefully have a new suspension set up which is currently being prepared for us by Murray Coote,” he added.
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